Download Performance Improvement Template for free

Performance Improvement Template [Free Download]

A performance improvement template is a document that highlights the areas where an employee is failing to meet expectations. If someone has performance issues, they need additional training or they're struggling to meet their measurable objectives... This template will help you tell them just that.

Alternatively, it can also detail how an employee needs to change their behavior. The performance improvement template clearly states the employee's steps to make the necessary improvements in both instances.

Here’s a sample Performance Improvement template that can be easily customized and adapted to meet your requirements. It’s free to download and use.

When Should You Use a Performance Improvement Template?

There are many instances where you can use a performance improvement template. In most cases, this template is used when an employee is struggling to deliver the best results and you want to give them constructive feedback and actionable steps for how they can improve. If you are in charge of monitoring a particular project, you must be able to pick up on signs of underperformance. Many signs indicate that an employee is struggling:

  • Decreased productivity and performance issues
  • Decreased engagement
  • Failure to deliver results on time

When there is a clear trend of negative performance, you should develop a performance improvement plan. For this, you can use a work performance improvement plan template to indicate the areas where the said employee should improve.

Other situations that might require you to use a performance improvement plan template free include:

  • If you have hired an employee, and they are still in the probationary period and you want to give them timely feedback to prevent performance deficiencies in the future.
  • If an employee with a track record of delivering exemplary results starts showing a recent anomalous trend in lousy performance and they're failing to reach measurable objectives for their role.
  • If an employee fails to deliver good results in a small number of areas but displays high performance in all other areas. In other words, it's not poor work performance, just performance discrepancies in different areas.
  • When your contract with a particular employee does not include a proper strategy for performance improvement. The performance improvement template offers an alternative.
  • When an employee is experiencing personal issues that lead to performance failures.
  • If these underperforming employees are undermining the performance of the entire team and this is a cause for disciplinary action.
  • When you want to introduce a performance action plan with action steps they should take to reach measurable goals for their role.

How to Use a Performance Improvement Template

To use our performance improvement template, you need first to download and rename the document. After customizing the name, you can then go through the document and find out which content is applicable to your situation.

Please note that this formal document is only a blueprint of what your actual performance improvement plan should contain. Therefore, you must tailor it to include content that is relevant to your situation. To properly use this performance improvement template, take note of the following:

Set Clear Goals

It's essential when using this performance improvement plan template word to be as clear as possible. Your target audience must be able to fully understand what their objectives and goals are.

If you fail to communicate clearly, your recipient will ask many questions, which might heighten their confusion. Whatever employee you have tasked with doing a job must understand what their specific goals are. The clearer the goals, the easier it becomes for them to achieve them.

If you do set goals following a performance review, introduce a plan of action to help the employee achieve them. This structured action plan not only explains your performance expectations but will also instill a positive attitude in the employee about achieving those performance standards.


The employee performance improvement plan template should initiate good communication and boost collaborative efforts. Both the author of the document and the recipient must communicate freely about their present challenges and how they plan to achieve superordinate goals.

You must communicate in a way that the recipient doesn't become malevolent towards the plan. As the author, you must ensure that you are clear and professional concerning your expectations. The recipient must also follow the performance improvement plan as effectively as possible.

Give them measurable steps they can take so that the performance issue can be resolved. For example, you can give your sales team ideas on what they can do to reach their sales targets on a regular basis. You can create a valuable resource such as a handbook that can help train and coach other reps in the future.

This is not just the job of the human resources department - the department heads and leaders should take a proactive approach to communicating expectations and steps for improvement to the people they manage.

Regular check-ins

Regular check-ins are crucial to monitoring the progress of a performance improvement plan. This will allow you to provide structure and consistent direction. Apart from that, regular monitoring also prevents employees from going off track.

To ensure continuous learning, you should have a structured plan and a road map of when you should catch up with your employees. Set a time period when you want to see measurable improvement in your employees and then reach out to them based on previous discussions.

Root Causes

When using our sample employee performance improvement plan template, you must consider that there are probably some root causes associated with poor performance. Maybe whoever is performing poorly is currently facing challenges preventing them from performing to their full potential.

Is there something wrong with the company's internal operations that is preventing them from achieving acceptable performance over a period of time?

Try and find out if there are any potential issues that your recipient is having. Initiate a discussion about how the problems might be getting in the way of their performance goals. You must also discuss how best you can deal with them to see improved performance in the long run.

Determine the key components of your satisfactory standard and set the minimum performance criteria for all your employees.

Benefits of a Performance Improvement Template

Better company culture

Using a performance improvement template promotes a sense of accountability. Employees will understand that they must meet expectations, or else they will be held accountable. This is a good step towards a positive company culture.

If an employee is delivering good results, they will feel appreciated. It also helps to alert everyone that they must pull their weight. By supplying everyone with actionable objectives, they will have an understanding of what is expected of them.

You should also note that you can use a performance improvement template even when you are not dealing with problematic employees.

This template can also be used for those individuals looking to move up in the company. It is especially beneficial when the said individual does not know how to do so. Apart from that, you can also use it to address an employee who would be a better fit for a different position.

More effective than reviews

Compiling a review can be effective, but it doesn't give someone the idea that failure to deliver has consequences. Apart from that, most employees react negatively to criticism.

Even when you are trying to provide some constructive criticism, most people tend to take offense. Also, a lot of people believe that feedback is inaccurate. This makes reviews less effective.

On the other hand, a performance improvement plan provides employees with precise details of their failure to deliver. It also shows them what they need to improve.

Hopefully, with the information here, you can come up with an effective performance improvement plan. Our performance improvement template is detailed and adequately structured to highlight all the critical areas you must address in your performance improvement plan.

To ensure that your plan is effective, you should ensure that there are measures to prevent whoever the plan is addressed from falling back into their poor performance. You must therefore have regular discussions to check whether there has been any improvement.

This template is a valuable tool for setting a measurable improvement goal and helping create more productive employees in your team.

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